This morning I sat basking in the sunlight, still too sleepy to do much other than start a pot of coffee in the percolator on my stove. Returning to the couch, I felt my eyes gently close and I found my mind wandering towards sleep again, but the gentle gurgle of the coffee brought me back to reality and the sweet earthy smell from the kitchen slowly drew me in. Maybe it's only my imagination, but good coffee evokes a sense of peace, belonging, and somehow, adventure. There's a hint of excitement in every cup, and my mind inevitably conjures thoughts of preparing for trips and of exploring the wide beautiful world.
The first time I ever really tried drinking coffee was a morning in the Black Hills of South Dakota. We were on a family camping trip, and I woke up with the sun, my parents and sister still sleeping gently in the cozy warmth of our family tent. I felt the call of nature, so careful not to wake them, I pulled on my clothes and slipped as quietly as I could out of the tent. The cold morning air hit me with a blast of energy that left me slightly breathless, and I thought very seriously about slipping back into the tent and waiting for the sun to warm the cold granite faces around us. But I wasn't the first to wake. My grandfather had also risen early and he sat by a hearty fire with a freshly brewed pot of black coffee.
Neither of my parents were coffee drinkers, so the smell of coffee was a bit foreign and exciting. I didn't have much conception of what the taste would be, as my only experience with coffee thus far had been a sip of a cup that was more cream and sugar than actual coffee, but without saying a word, my grandfather nodded at me and poured the steaming black liquid into a tin cup. He held it out and I took it gingerly, feeling that this moment was too solemn for words.
The silence of the morning was punctured only by the crackling of the fire, the gentle whistling of birds just waking up, and a quiet skittering of squirrels, undoubtedly hurrying home to their warm nests. The coffee scent mixed with the smell of the campfire, and I sat on the bench next to my grandfather, cupping the tin mug with both hands and letting the warmth spread through my arms. Gingerly, I took my first sip and, despite the bitterness, it tasted like the new day and like freedom. The heat spread through my body, and my fingers and toes tingled with excitement and anticipation.
Every cup of coffee since then has evoked that same sense of freedom and anticipation. Coffee is the start of something. A cup of coffee means the day is beginning and there is no telling what it might hold. It's an invitation to start fresh and experience something new. It's the beginning of a chapter, never the end.
Fiji Wild brings something new to this equation, because not only is the coffee in my cup this morning the beginning of a chapter for me, its also the beginning of a chapter for a village I've never seen. Someday, I hope to meet the people who picked this coffee and hear how their story has unfolded, but for now, I can only imagine the world that has opened up for them in a new way because of what Seth and the Fiji Wild team are doing. And somehow, it makes the coffee taste even more like freedom.